Anejo is a Mexican restaurant dedicated to all things tequila.
Taking over the underground cave that was once the Bier Markt, the basement space of this heritage building has transformed into a sultry den for sipping on deadly, dance-inducing drinks from the blue agave plant.
This arrival of this Calgary transplant, whose original location currently holds the title for the country's largest tequila selection, could potentially solidify Toronto as a tequila town.
Our Anejo doesn't have nearly as many different tequilas as its Calgary counterpart (around 70, compared to a whopping 250, which we can thank Ontario's liquor laws for). Still, compared to the few other tequila bars in the city, it's a staggering number.
The decor here is all sugar skulls, dim lighting, and custom lamps made from the quintessential blue-and-white tequila decanters of Clase Azul. For your drunken entertainment, a projector on the back wall plays Nacho Libre, because, you know, nachos.
The backlit bar is really the focal point here, with the selection of blancos, jovens, reposados, anejos, and extra anejos from mostly premium brands.
Aside from classics like the Don Julio 1942, and what will eventually be all the lines from Patron, there are rarities like the Guillermo Del Toronto x Patron blend, an upside-down skeleton-shaped bottle in an ornate box that'll cost you $120 per shot.
That's small beans compared to the most expensive shot you can get here (for now, anyway—options are expected to surge to $2,500). For $400 you can throw back an ounce of the Clase Azul's Ultra Extra Anejo, a double-distilled tequila aged in Sherry Oak casks.
Cue Anejo's handy happy hour, or "Halfy Hour", which happens twice a day. In case you don't want to spend half a month's rent on booze, all tequila is half-off, even the premium ones, and all cocktails are $6 between 3-5 p.m., or 10 p.m-midnight.
For margaritas, the chili coconut ($12 for 1.5 oz) has been wildly popular. The coconut syrup, habanero, and lime flavours are definitely a unique way to consume some blanco.
The Mez Tai ($18), a mix of Coco Lopez, dry curaçao, avocado seed falernum and 2 oz of mezcal, is my personal favourite. Extra points for the biodegradable straw, made from agave (very on-brand) that does't mush in your mouth like paper straws.
The El Jefe ($18) is a Manhattan that uses Tromba blanco that's been aged into a reposado in small barrels behind the bar.
If you're a party (or just want to get drunk fast) all margaritas come in a jug option ($70 and up) for 9 0z of booze.
Food-wise there's a number of good options. The guacamole ($15) is pretty good.
Served in a hulking molajete imported from Mexico, your avocado, cilantro, onions, tomatoes, and three types of salt are all mashed up table-side and served with tortilla chips.
The fundido traditional ($18), a.k.a. a cheese fondu, is a bubbling vat of Oaxaca cheese, mozzarella, and monterey.
A standout for me is a take on Chiles en Nogada, a traditional dish hailing from Puebla where poblano pepper ($26) is stuffed with pork belly.
The sauce is a rich mix of walnut and pecan sauce, with a pomegranate drizzle.
The molcajete de carne ($26) is a carnivore's meal with a mix of beef striploin, chorizo, and chicken in a pasila tomatillo sauce and Oaxaca cheese. Use the tortillas to make your own tacos.
You don't have to be a tequila savant to visit Anejo, but stay too long and you'll probably end up speaking Spanish by the time you leave.